Expert Jerk

Written in Fall of 2000, revised in 2005.

In the Spring of 2000, I moved into my first apartment in Haverhill MA. It was a cozy one-bedroom near the downtown area. Since I worked in Boston, I had a tough commute, about two hours door-to-door to and from work. I didn't have much time to meet people at work or near where I lived, so I decided to post a personal ad online. I had fairly good luck with ads before, and seemed to know how to avoid the "bad eggs" as my Grandmother would call them. I always made sure that my ad was long enough to make the point that I DIDN'T want a certain type of person. It may have been a laundry list, but I figured I was better safe than sorry!

I was at work one day when I got an AOL instant message from someone who had read my ad. We seemed to instantly hit it off, and he seemed very charming and funny. To my surprise, he didn't push too hard to meet right away, which made me feel very comfortable. We would chat online every day for about a month. We would ask each other funny questions to test our reactions and one day he asked me,

"If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be?"

I thought it was an interesting question so asked him if we could both answer at the same time. Both of us instantly replied "sweet potato". He thought it was such a unique answer, that he was convinced we should meet. I really wanted to meet with him, because he really made me laugh and seemed like he would be a great person to hang out with. I looked forward to his messages and our chats every day, and wanted to meet the man behind them. I was nervous nonetheless, but agreed we should meet. I asked him when, thinking that he would say "next week" or some other time in the relatively near future. Instead he said, "Let's meet now, how do I get to your apartment?" It was after 11pm! All of a sudden I was even more nervous, but amazingly, not in a scared way. I was actually thrilled. So I gave him directions, and he told me he would be in Haverhill in 45 minutes.

When he arrived, I went out to meet him and the second I looked at him I felt faint. My knees started to weaken, and I thought I was going to fall to the ground. What the hell was happening to me? Had I never seen a gorgeous man before? I certainly had, but for some reason this was different. He wasn't the type of man that everyone would think was gorgeous....he wasn't a Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise. He was heavy, but he had a handsome face and he had a strong air of confidence about him. VERY STRONG. I don't think I ever completely believed the saying that confidence attracts, until I met David. He gave me the romantic equivalent of a firm handshake...a very firm but comfortable hug.

He decided we would take a drive to Hampton Beach in New Hampshire, walk along the shore and talk. We had very animated conversations, and he would tell me about his job, his friends and what he liked to do....but very little about his family. There had been a period of time when I stopped chatting with him online for a few days because I was busy with work. He brought that up in our conversation, and gently scolded me about not talking with him, and that work was "no excuse". At the time I brushed it off as being part of his dry sense of humor, it was difficult to tell sometimes whether he was serious or joking. The evening was comfortable though, we talked easily and I felt the same excitement and happiness as I did when we were talking online. He drove me home to Haverhill around 3am, gave me another strong hug, and promised we would chat online again and set up a real date.

We had made plans to go out for dinner a few days later, which I was looking forward to. On the day we were supposed to get together, he called and said he would have to be late, so we would order Chinese take-out at my place and watch a rented movie instead, which we did. We sat very close to each other, and I don't think I ever paid attention to the movie. I was too nervous, and my heart was pounding too hard. He was sitting sideways facing me, and I was facing forward, so it didn't help that I knew he was looking at me. I barely breathed. At one point he told me I was very beautiful in a soft gentle voice, and I thought I was going to have a heart attack. He asked if he could kiss me. I couldn't reply with words, so I leaned over and kissed him. My ears started ringing, and I could tell my face was flushed, and we kissed for so long that I had to gasp for air. I felt far from in control of what I was doing and a scary feeling came over me - he could do whatever he wanted at this point and I would not be able to refuse. And refusing would have been a good idea at that point in our relationship. Luckily he was a gentleman, and volunteered to leave. I was relieved.

That night I sent him an e-mail telling him exactly what I was feeling, which looking back on it now - was a big mistake. I think it was at that point, that he decided to take advantage of me, but I didn't know. I believe in my heart, or I try to anyway, that people are basically good. However, I have realized in my life that if people know they have control over you, they will use it to their advantage. And that's what David did.

He said that he was flattered about my feelings, and that he felt the same way but didn't want to rush into anything. He wanted to take things slow. I was relieved that he seemed to truly feel that way. He again made plans to take me out to dinner, and again called on the night of our date and said that he would have to be late, but we would order take out and watch a movie at my apartment. In retrospect, I should have declined the date, but my feelings for him were very strong. I was fighting myself internally - I considered myself a smart woman, in touch with what is going on mentally and physically with herself. It was hard to admit, but I wasn't in control of this situation. I tried to reason with myself that maybe these feelings about David were powerful because we were meant to be. After all, we were both "sweet potatoes." I think I wanted to believe that, as silly as it seems now.

Instead of taking things slow that night, we went full speed ahead. And instead of being a gentleman, he must have decided that he shouldn't bother when he already had me wrapped around his finger. Honestly, he must have flipped through the pages of the Kama Sutra and figured out exactly what we were going to do that night. He had an agenda. Instead of the night being romantic, it was more like a lesson in obedience. He was commanding, and forceful, but gentle all at the same time. He knew exactly what he wanted and how he wanted it. He didn't want me to speak, just to obey his wishes. This is not to say that it wasn't enjoyable, far from it. It was strange, intriquing, exciting, and different from anything I had ever experienced. But I knew I was being used.

After that night, we still talked on the internet almost every day, but I began to see the dark side of him. David had a very quick temper, and there were times when I thanked God I wasn't actually with him at the time. He was quick to put me down, and correct me, and say my feelings were stupid, silly, or foolish. And each time, like a stupid, silly, foolish person, I would apologize and try to gain his respect. I was walking on eggshells with everything I said. He said he was too busy to be with me for a while, that his work was taking up a lot of his time (and I remembered him saying "no excuse" when I was in the same situation). So every day I would hope to see him, and every day I would get my hopes dashed. But I tried not to express my disappointment, for fear that he would not speak to me again.

My mood seemed to hinge on his before long. When we had great conversations, I was elated. When he put me down and would log off the internet without saying goodbye, I was crushed. Work was very stressful then, and my car was stolen from my apartment parking lot. I was getting very little sleep at night, and as a result would wake up extremely late for work. My life was in chaos, I wasn't thinking clearly, and I was lonely.

The next date was more of the same, but I was so happy to see him and missed him so much, that I didn't care. At one point he surprised me, looked into my eyes very seriously and told me he loved me. It was as if a different personality had interrupted the evening - I saw a vulnerable, insecure David peeking through the dark side. I remember holding him in my arms, in the midst of our powerfucking, and almost rocking him. I wish I had known why, but he was obviously in some emotional pain. From our conversations, I could tell that there were some sore topics, some parts of his life he didn't want to discuss. I wondered whether there was some way I could have helped him, and some way I could have gotten him to open up. But whatever the problems were, they were buried, and it would take more than me to uncover them.

After that night, our conversations didn't change, his temper was still quick and I would just as quickly try to recover from whatever it was I did "wrong". Our next date was about a month later and even more intense. A few weeks after, he told me he had "great news". He had gotten his dream job in Louisville Kentucky, and would be moving. My heart was in my throat and I felt tears well up in my eyes. I asked him when he would be leaving, thinking he would tell me at least a couple of weeks. Instead he said, "tomorrow." I told him I wanted to say goodbye to him, and asked if I could see him one last time. He declined, and said he didn't have time but would give me a call before he left. I wanted to say so many things, but I refrained, thinking that he would just log off and not speak to me again if I set off his temper. He said "It was nice to know you, take care of yourself." He then signed off. I was at work at the time, and started hyperventilating, but managed to calm myself down within a few minutes. I went to the ladies room and got violently sick. I requested to leave work, and cried during the entire two hour commute home, and cried myself to sleep when I got home. I never got a call from him.

For a long time, I thought Dave was lying to me about the dream job, and that there was a possibility he was married, since he never talked about his family, never told me where he lived, and wouldn't give me his phone number. However, I know from his web site that he does live in Kentucky now. He also got married to another woman named Carrie. About two years ago, he emailed me. He had seen my wedding photos online and told me I was a beautiful bride. He told me that he was sorry for departing from my life so quickly, that he was "really screwed up" back then, and that he regretted how he treated me. Although I was relieved to hear from him, to hear that he was doing well, and that he was sorry....I just kept remembering what he said to me at Hampton Beach...

No excuse.

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